The top millennium top hip-hop artist, Jay-Z tied Elvis Presley for the most Number One albums by a solo performer with the release of his 2007 disc "American Gangster." (The Beatles still hold the overall record with nineteen chart toppers). Born Shawn Carter, on December 4, 1970, in Brooklyn, New York, he grew up in the tough Marcy Projects Like fellow New York rappers DMX and Nas, he achieved broad mainstream acceptance for his unflinching accounts of urban life while his keen pop sensibilities and business acumen helped him ascend the top of the charts and the President of Def Jam records.

After appearing on tracks by Big Jaz and Original Flavor, Jay-Z released his first album "Reasonable Doubt" (Number 23 pop, Number Three R&B, 1996), which included "Ain't No Nigga" (Number 50 pop, Number 17 R&B, 1996) with Foxy Brown. Another single, "Can't Knock the Hustle" (Number 73 pop, Number 35 R&B, 1996), featured guest vocals from Mary J. Blige. Unhappy with the album's distribution, Jay-Z formed his own record company, Roc-A-Fella, and signed a deal with Def Jam.

"In My Lifetime," "Vol. 1" (Number Three pop, Number Two R&B, 1997) was an unqualified success, but 1998's "Volume 2 ... Hard Knock Life" (Number One pop and R&B, 1998) allowed the rapper to thoroughly dominate the pop charts. Two singles, debuting within a month of each other, did the rest: the jaunty "Can I Get a ... " (Number 19 pop, Number Six R&B, 1998), from the "Rush Hour" soundtrack, and "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" (Number 15 pop, Number 10 R&B, 1998), which used a sample of a children's chorus from The Original Broadway Cast of "Annie." The rapper embarked on a hugely successful tour and boosted the careers of such proteges as Ja Rule, Beanie Sigel, and Memphis Bleek. "Volume 2" sold more than 4 million copies and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

The 1999 followup, "Volume 3 ... The Life & Times of S. Carter" (Number One pop and R&B, 2000), along with two hits — Mariah Carey's Number One pop and R&B "Heartbreaker" (on which he rapped) and "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)" (Number 17 R&B, 1999) — continued the winning trend. In December 1999 Jay-Z was charged with first-degree assault in the stabbing of record executive Lance "Un" Rivera. A new album, "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" (Number One pop and R&B, 2001), included the hit "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)" (Number 11 pop, Number One R&B, 2001).

Even though it was released on September 11, 2001, the distraction of the terror attacks didn't keep "The Blueprint" from debuting at Number One on both the pop and hip-hop charts, selling 450,000 copies in its first week and eventually going double platinum. With Kanye West's production of four tracks and a guest spot from Eminem on "Renegade," the album was a commercial and critical smash, yielding the hit singles "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" (Number Four pop, Number Eight R&B/Hip-Hop, 2001) and "Girls, Girls, Girls" (Number Four R&B/Hip-Hop, Number 17 pop, 2001). On the track "Takeover," Jay-Z put his rivalry with rapper Nas on the public record; the feud had begun four years earlier when the murder of Notorious B.I.G. left the position of New York City Rap King up for grabs. After performing with the Roots as his backup band on an MTV Unplugged album (Number Eight R&B/Hip-Hop, Number 31 pop, 2001), Jay-Z released "The Blueprint: The Gift & the Curse" (Number One pop, Number One R&B/Hip-Hop, 2002), a sprawling, two-disc set featuring guest spots from a who's who of stars including his then-girlfriend Beyonce Knowles on "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (Number Four pop, Number Five R&B/Hip-Hop, 2002), Lenny Kravitz on the rock-based "Guns & Roses," as well as golden-age rap legend Rakim, Outkast's Big Boi and Kanye West making an early appearance as an artist and not just a producer. The album also included the Neptunes-produced hit "Excuse Me Miss" (Number One R&B/Hip-Hop, Number Eight pop, 2003). Later that year Jay-Z released an abbreviated version with new tracks called "The Blueprint 2.1."

Jay-Z continued his momentum with another critical and commercial smash, "The Black Album" (2003), which topped the pop and R&B/Hip-Hop charts and included popular singles "Dirt off Your Shoulder" (Number Three R&B/Hip-Hop, Number 5 pop, 2004), "Change Clothes" (Number Six R&B/Hip-Hop, Number Ten pop, 2004) and "99 Problems" (Number 26 R&B/Hip-Hop, Number 30 pop, 2004). Over the next two years he performed with rap-rockers Linkin Park, a collaboration that produced the official mash-up album "Collison Course" (Number One pop, Number Three R&B/Hip-Hop, 2004), which included a Number 20 single combining Jay-Z's "Encore" with Linkin Park's "Numb." That same year, DJ Danger Mouse released a critically acclaimed underground mash-up album consisting of vocal tracks from The "Black Album" with music samples from the Beatles' "White Album" that caused a stir when EMI, the copyright holder of The Beatles' catalog, attempted to halt its distribution. (Jay-Z had released an a capella version of "The Black Album" that spawned mash-ups with other artists ranging from Pavement, Weezer and Metallica to Prince and the Wu-Tang Clan.) A video entitled "The Grey Video" mashed up images of Jay-Z with footage from The Beatles movie "A Hard Day's Night" that featured a break-dancing John Lennon and drummer Ringo Starr evolving into a DJ. The "Black Album/White Album" controversy culminated with a real-life on-stage appearance by Paul McCartney with Jay-Z and Linkin Park during a performance of "Numb/Encore" at the 2006 Grammy Awards that mashed the Beatles' "Yesterday" into the mix.

"Kingdom Come" (Number One pop, Number One R&B/Hip-Hop, 2006), which yielded the hit single "Show Me What You Got" (Number Three R&B/Hip-Hop, Number Eight pop, 2006), featured another who's who of producers including West, Pharrell Williams, Dr. Dre and rocker Chris Martin of Coldplay on the orchestrated track "Beach Chair." The concept disc "American Gangster" (Number One pop, Number One R&B, 2007), inspired by the film of the same name starring Denzel Washington, came out to glowing reviews, Rolling Stone naming it the third best album of the year. With production work from Diddy, Just Blaze, the Neptunes and others, it features guest appearances from Beanie Sigel and Lil' Wayne. After six years of dating, Jay-Z and Beyonce married in April of 2008. In late 2007, Jay-Z stepped down from a three-year stint as President of Def Jam records, and in September 2008 he announced a new label venture called StarRoc formed with Norwegian songwriters, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen known collectively as Stargate.




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FACTS

How tall is he? How old is he? Find out here.

Age: 47 years old
Birthday: December 4, 1969
Height: 6' 1 ½"
Nickname: S-dot
Young Hov
Jazzy
Hova
Jigga
J-Hova
Jiggaman
Iceberg Slim
Lucky Lefty
Joe Camel
Full Name / Real Name: Shawn Corey Carter
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Wife: Beyoncé Knowles (4/4/2008, 1 child)


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tellitlikeitis says:
he is a legendary man that knows what he is doing and thats why people well not forget him i am 13 years old and he has set so many records for me it just wonderful to know that theeres some on the is a make role modle
teammick says:
Jay-z is so cool! haha keep rappin it up!
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